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Antigone of Epirus

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Title: Antigone of Epirus  
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Language: English
Subject: Berenice I of Egypt, Pyrrhus of Epirus, Magas of Cyrene, Antigone (disambiguation), Antigone of Macedon, Antigonia (Chaonia)
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Antigone of Epirus

Antigone (Greek: Ἀντιγόνη, born before 317 BC[1]-295 BC[2]) was a Greek Macedonian noblewoman. Through her mother’s second marriage she was a member of the Ptolemaic dynasty and through marriage was a Queen of Epirus.

Antigone was the daughter and the second child of the noblewoman Berenice and her first husband Philip.[3] She had an elder brother called Magas and an younger sister called Theoxena.[4]

Her father, Philip was the son Amyntas by an unnamed mother.[5] Based on the implying of Plutarch (Pyrrhus 4.4), her father was previously married and had children, including daughters born to him.[6] He served as a military officer in the service of the Greek King Alexander the Great and was known in commanding one division of the Phalanx in Alexander’s wars.[7]

Her mother Berenice was a noblewoman from Eordeaea.[8] She was the daughter of local obscure nobleman Magas and noblewoman Antigone.[9] Berenice’s mother was the niece of the powerful Regent Antipater[10] and was a distant collateral relative to the Argead dynasty.[11]

About 318 BC, her father died of natural causes. After the death of Antigone’s father, Antigone's mother took her and her siblings to Egypt where they were a part of the entourage of her mother’s second maternal cousin Eurydice. Eurydice was then the wife of Ptolemy I Soter, the first Greek Pharaoh and founder of the Ptolemaic dynasty.

By 317 BC, Ptolemy I fell in love with Berenice and divorced Eurydice to marry her. Her mother through her marriage to Ptolemy I, was an Egyptian Queen and the Queen mother of the Ptolemaic dynasty.[12] Through her mother’s marriage to Ptolemy I, Antigone was a stepdaughter to Ptolemy I; became an Egyptian Princess living in her stepfather’s court and was a member of the Ptolemaic dynasty. Her mother bore Ptolemy I three children: two daughters, Arsinoe II, Philotera and the future Pharaoh Ptolemy II Philadelphus.[13]

In the year 300 BC or 299 BC, Pyrrhus of Epirus was sent as a hostage to Egypt for Demetrius I of Macedon during part of a short-lived rapprochement between Demetrius I and Ptolemy I.[14] In the time Pyrrhus was in Alexandria, it appears that Ptolemy I really liked Pyrrhus who was a valiant man, who gave proof of his strength and courage during hunting parties and other exercises.[15] In 299 BC/298 BC, Ptolemy I arranged for Pyrrhus to marry Antigone, as this was for the both of them their first marriage.[16][17]

With the help of Antigone, Pyrrhus obtained a fleet of ships and money from Ptolemy I and set sail with Antigone for his kingdom in Epirus.[18] Pyrrhus came into an agreement with his relative Neoptolemus II of Epirus, who had usurped the kingdom to hold it jointly with him.[19]

Through her marriage to Pyrrhus, Antigone became a Queen of Epirus. Little is known on her relationship with Pyrrhus and her reign as Queen. She had borne Pyrrhus two children: a daughter called Olympias and a son called Ptolemy.[20] Antigone possibly died in childbirth, as she seems to have died the same year her son was born.[21]

As a posthumous honor to his first wife, Pyrrhus founded a colony called Antigonia, whom he named after her. In the colony named after her, gained a reputation of medals that bore her name.[22] The Medals were distinguished by an Obelisk within a crown of ivy leaves and bunches of grapes, which had the inscription ΑΝΤΙΓΟΝΕΩΝ.[23]



  • G. Crabb, Universal historical dictionary: or explanation of the names of persons and places in the departments of biblical, political and eccles. history, mythology, heraldry, biography, bibliography, geography, and numismatics, Volume 1 (Google eBook), Baldwin and Cradock, 1833
  • W. Heckel, Who’s who in the age of Alexander the Great: prosopography of Alexander’s empire, Wiley-Blackwell, 2006
  • J. Ussher, The Annals of the World, New Leaf Publishing Group, 2007
  • Ptolemaic Genealogy: Antigone
  • Ptolemaic Genealogy: Berenice I
  • Ptolemaic Dynasty - Affiliated Lines: The Antipatrids
  • Ancient Library article: Magas no.1
  • Ancient Library article: Philippus no. 5
  • Berenice I article at
  • Pyrrhus of Epirus Part 1 at
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